Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Lessons from "The Real World"

By Devin D. O'Leary

NOVEMBER 22, 1999:  Another season of MTV's reality soap "The Real World" has come to a close. The roommates of the eighth cast said goodbye to each other, packed up their stuff and sailed on out of Hawai'i last Tuesday (actually, they sailed out sometime in June, but we didn't get to see it until last Tuesday). It was certainly the most exciting cast in recent memory with enough romance, backstabbing and personality conflicts to fuel the average daytime soap for at least a week and a half -- far better than the lame-ass Lyme disease and fish tossing highlights of "The Real World: Seattle."

So, now that it's over and done with, what lessons are there to be learned? What valuable pointers did we pick up from staring at this grating batch of self-absorbed nincompoops for six months straight?

Lesson No. 1: Alcoholics are your best entertainment value -- Hawai'i native Ruthie turned out to this season's dramatic ringer. Not only was she bisexual but, by the end of the first show, she had swilled herself into an alcoholic coma. Several episodes down the line, she added drunk driving, barroom brawling, public nudity and drink tossing to her résumé. Although Ruthie constantly denied she was an alcoholic, she did play one on TV and was soon banished from the house for a rehab program. When she eventually returned as an empowered, aphorism-spouting teetotaler, viewers had found other cast members to hate.

Lesson No. 2: Never date a roommate -- The googly-eyed high school crush between clingy, insecure sorority chick Amaya and pompous stud muffin Colin eventually exploded like the propane-fueled volcano in this year's "Real World" swimming pool. Being a couple of emotional idiots, Amaya and Colin were shocked to discover the difficulty of working with, living with and dating a person 24 hours a day. Amaya eventually noticed Colin's preoccupation with "Real World's" patented video confessional booth, saying, "Colin went down to the confessional all the time. It was his best friend." Unbeknownst to Amaya, Colin confessed, "I once ate a whole corn on the cob in the confessional just to get away from Amaya."

Lesson No. 3: Don't sweat the "talent" portion of your "Real World" audition -- Watching the kids put on their little talent shows at the coffee shop where they were forced to "work" this season was a frequent torture test. The farewell night show, packed with lame rapping, candy-ass poetry and cornball skits did not bode well for the roommates' post-season entertainment careers.

Lesson No. 4: She who hesitates is lost -- Spiritual egghead Kaia waited until three days before the roommates were supposed to split town before deciding she was in love with phony sensitive guy Matt. Where the hell did that come from?

Lesson No. 5: There's no situation so exploitative that it can't be exploited further -- Producers of the show actually auctioned off the beach house's gloriously tacky furnishings and knick-knacks on the Internet once the kids cleared out. Some Internet genius actually paid $400 for "out" (and soon "kicked out") cast member Justin's cheap plastic alarm clock. Sample dialogue to be heard 10 years from now: "Daddy, what's that?" "That hideous little purple travel alarm? That, honey, is an eternal testament to your father's vast stupidity."

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